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Old 12-16-2006, 11:20 PM   #1
rpthomas
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Default Poor fermentation start!

Twice in a row now! First with Dried Malt Extract only, Second with some grains steeped, but in both cases, absolutely lousy fermentation.

I've kept everything clean - possibly too clean (could it be traces of steriliser in the wort?) - and the yeast in both cases went off like a bomb on re-hydration before pitching, so it can't be dead yeast.

But once pitched, the yeast just sank to the bottom like the titanic, did nothing much, and its bloo...y annoying.

So, what am I doing wrong? I've brewed from full mash, partial mash, extract, and possibly dried cat in the past, but i've never had this problem.

Put simply, once pitched to the wort, the yeast refuses to ferment properly. I expected a strong top-ferment with loads of foam. I got - precisely nothing.

Once, I could forgive. But twice in a row suggests something I'm doing wrong. My best guess is that I'm using a new steriliser, and traces of it are causing serious problems for the yeast. Has anyone had this problem? More important, has anyone overcome this problem?

Richard

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Old 12-17-2006, 12:08 AM   #2
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Default Rehydrating Yeast

How did you rehydrate your yeast? Was it water only or was it a water with a little bit of extract sugar?

I'm not sure, but I believe if you rehydrate yeast without nutrients in it, the yeast will become active and then die (quite quickly) due to a lack of nutrients. Maybe one of the expert, brewmeister quys can help.

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Old 12-17-2006, 03:14 AM   #3
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Most of my first batches used dry yeast and I rehydrated with water only. To be sure, you can proof your yeast with a mini starter by using some DME in boiling water. After you rehydrate, add the DME mixture (make sure it's cooled to about 70 degrees first) and see if you get any activity. Once you proof the yeast, you can pitch it and see what activity you get.

What is the new sanitizer you are using? Try a batch with the sinitizere you used to use and see if you hav ethe same problem. Basic troubleshooting by breaking down your process should point you to the problem area.

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:36 AM   #4
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Tell us your procedures and maybe we can see something that is causing your problem.
Are you using dried or liquid yeast?
What did you rehydrate the yeast in and the temp?
Was the yeast fresh?

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Old 12-17-2006, 06:14 AM   #5
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What temps are you pitching at?



As a side note....I'm pretty ripped.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:07 AM   #6
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Whadda you know!!! This morning, the brew is going like a train!!! Smells great, no off colours or odours, and the gas is blowing like a whale.

So a slow start.

Now, why?

Yeast is dried yeast rehydrated with water and a tad of unrefined sugar. Pitched at 30 degrees C. Wort well oxygenated before pitching.

When the first lot of yeast appeared not to start in the wort, I found a really really really ancient packet tucked away. Rehydrated that, and it started fine (which goes to show that not all old dried yeast is old dead yeast).

So I now have two different strains of yeast working away (or I presume I do).

What I think happened was that there was so much oxygen in the wort (I gave it loads of welly on the shake) that the yeast spent the first few hours multiplying aerobically, before having to get to its anerobic munching. But I'm no expert.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think the best is about putting DME in the rehydration mix. Better than sugar i guess.

Its a good, strong, dark crystal Porter hopped well with Goldings. Well, it might be a bit green for Christmas, but it will be great for the New Year and any Carol Singers brave enough to come to the door.

Again, thanks guys.

BTW, if anyone wants a copper tube type wort cooler, I have a couple going cheap (£10 plus postage). Ebay is the next call if no one asks here.

R

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:20 AM   #7
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You simply didn't wait long enough for it to work.

Yeast goes through diferent stages. The first is for the yeast to adapt to new surroundings and gather the nesessary ingredients to start fermentation. This (called lag time) can vary with the amount of yeast pitched into the type of wort you have at diferent tempertures.

Have patience and Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Home Brew (rdwhahb) Beer knows how to make itself given the right ingredients and tempertures.

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Old 12-17-2006, 12:41 PM   #8
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Yeah, you never really explained how fast you were expecting it to take off. Since I got an oxygen bottle, my lag time is about 5 hours with simple rehydrated dry yeast. Before that it was closer to 9 hours give or take. Temperature is a big factor as well.

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Old 12-17-2006, 02:05 PM   #9
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I've never quite figured this out: People really expect fermentation to start in an hour or two? I've never run across anything in any book or article that implies this would happen, and yet, time after time, people get upset when their ferment takes more than two hours to start.

You answered your own question:

Quote:
What I think happened was that there was so much oxygen in the wort (I gave it loads of welly on the shake) that the yeast spent the first few hours multiplying aerobically, before having to get to its anaerobic munching. But I'm no expert.
This is exactly what should happen and 12-72 hours isn't unreasonable.
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
I've never quite figured this out: People really expect fermentation to start in an hour or two? I've never run across anything in any book or article that implies this would happen, and yet, time after time, people get upset when their ferment takes more than two hours to start.

You answered your own question:



This is exactly what should happen and 12-72 hours isn't unreasonable.
If your wort isn't chilled enough when you pitched, it may have just went domant.
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